Teacher Profile: Stephen Germana

Whether it’s the Art-Rock he has playing in the background of his classroom, the way he stares at you from behind his desk or his all-black wardrobe, when students walk into Stephen Germana’s class, they can instantly tell his course is not like any they have taken before.

An accomplished artist with several advanced degrees, Germana teaches AICE Photography and AP Art History. He’s known for his knowledge of film and art and also for his mix of stoicism and charisma. This reputation makes him somewhat of an enigma to his students, but Germana’s classes remain highly popular, even though they are advanced courses.

“The hard thing about my class is it’s independent, [focusing] so much on outside work,” Germana said.

His courses are not easy, but he challenges his students to grow and learn. And they leave the class with a unique set of knowledge.

“I really try to let them make mistakes,” he said. “Students need to work on their own vision.”

This form of tough love is why Germana intimidates some underclassmen, but his upperclassmen appreciate and thank him. Germana’s juniors and seniors admire him not only for his teaching but also for his ability to draw out the best in them, and, of course, for his wardrobe.

“We all have a uniform; I clearly know what mine is,” Germana said when asked why he chooses to wear what he does. “It was a slow development. I realized I didn’t look good in turquoise.”

Germana often adds subtle humor to his lessons and conversations with students.

“I really try to temper it with a joke afterwards so people don’t think I’m being too heavy,” he said.

In addition to his teaching style and monochromatic clothes, Germana is known among students for his display of a picture from his youth–a picture of a 13-year-old Germana standing with hands at his hips, smiling confidently, wearing a shirt that reads, “Italians do it better.”

When asked if he still stands by this statement, he simply said “No.”